This refers to the editorial "Khairlanji's shame" (Nov. 20). It is indeed distressing to read about such incidents after almost 60 years of free rule. We take pride in our democratic polity as if, by itself, it is the panacea for all social ills.

The failure of the middle class to play a revolutionary role has been all the more disturbing. It is time efforts were made to stem the rot from within, not to speak of the malevolent impact from without.

Y. Krishnaiah,
Khammam, A.P.

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If the Government and media can take almost one-and-a-half months to react to an incident of such magnitude, one wonders how much official attention incidences of lesser magnitude, most of which are ignored, get.

Who is to blame for the state of affairs the dominant castes, media, police, politicians, judiciary, or the government of the day? The police do not book cases, the media do not do what it is expected of them, victims rarely get justice, and the government wakes up very late and tries to cover up the issues by offering monetary compensation. Arming Dalits is no solution. What is the guarantee that the arms will not be snatched from them and used against them? The state should display the will to protect the lives and property of the downtrodden.

B.R. Chikte,
Adilabad, A.P.

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Khairlanji has demonstrated that even a semblance of progress by Dalits is not tolerated by the upper castes. The only `mistake' the Bhotmange family committed was to assert its rights to lead a decent life. The root cause of the atrocity, committed in the presence of the entire village, is the deeply entrenched caste prejudice against Dalits. It is time for leaders and acharyas of the Hindu religion to condemn the killing and start a mass movement to eradicate casteism.

P. Saravanan,
Coimbatore

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What Albert Einstein said aptly describes the condition: "The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." How true!

S. Sudhir Kumar,
Hyderabad